For some reason, I have done quite a few mashups with Beyoncé’s vocals; perhaps it is because there were a lot of her vocal tracks available on the a cappella site that I frequented before getting kicked off for not contributing any a cappella tracks of my own. I will not share all of the Beyoncé tracks, as some are kind of messy or dull. I am quite fond of this one, though.

One thing that may sell me on a mashup is if the song is in a completely different key from the song that the vocals had come from and still works. The first half of this mashup is an example of that. The original Beyoncé song, Single Ladies, is in the key of F major. Yeah, it may just sound like tuneless noise to some, but it is in F major. The backing track, Firesuite by the band Doves, is in the key of D minor. Even with the somewhat odd chord structure of “Firesuite” during the first minute, it manages to fit quite well with Beyoncé’s vocals, even the harmonies.

Originally, I would have had “Firesuite” as the backing track the whole way through. The bridge of “Single Ladies”, though, put a stop to that. I suppose that I could have changed the pitch of “Firesuite” to play E sharp and C chords, but I considered that tactic to be cheating. Cutting up elements of a song is fine, as is changing the speed overall or tinkering with volume, but selectively altering the pitch was a step too far for me. While I have changed the pitch of certain songs in order to fit melodically with each other, I usually had done so for the entire song so as to keep it consistent. Changing the pitch of only certain elements would undercut the purpose of using that particular track in my opinion, so I did that rarely.

In this case, I decided to use other songs entirely. Some mashup artists like to switch up the sound of their songs on occasion. Others do it a lot, particularly in some long-form project. I usually did not do this, usually out of laziness, but mostly because I want to see how two or more songs gel with each other through the long haul. So while I may add song elements later on in a mashup, I usually do not take one away halfway through. In this case, though, I had to make an exception or just scrap the entire mashup and start over. And I liked it too much to do that.

Instead of playing “Firesuite” all the way through, I placed the outro early on so that it disappears around halfway through. As a replacement, I faded in with My Doorbell by The White Stripes, extending the second chorus enough so that it was not immediately noticeable unless you already know that it is coming. I am not exactly sure why I decided against, just dropping it in without warning, but maybe it would not have sounded as good given that “Firesuite” kids of drops out at that time. I suppose that My Doorbell would have been a more obvious choice for a backing track, since it is almost in the same key as “Single Ladies”, has the chords necessary for the bridge, and the repeated line “ring it” sounds similar to “ring on it”. Unfortunately, after the full, lush sound of “Firestuite”, simply playing the stripped down and jumpy sound of “My Doorbell” would have sounded awkwardly goofy. In order to allow for a smoother and subtle transition from the first half of the song to the second, I included a small part of the song Battleflag by Lo-Fidelity Allstars. I suppose that I could have used any bit of a song, but I chose that one. And then it was just easy sailing to the end.

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